ANDRE ETHIER WITH CHRISTOPHER SANDeS FEATURING PICKLES AND PRICE (Sonic Unyon) Rating: NNN
Anyone accustomed to the Deadly Snakes' brand of greasy, trashy garage rawk 'n' roll can be forgiven for feeling a tad bewildered by guitarist-vocalist Andre Ethier's solo debut. Recorded live in the studio with a handful of pals, Ethier's offering is less smash-stuff-up freneticism than a delightful, loose-limbed set of jangly, vaguely folky roots-rock that sounds like a lost souvenir of 60s-era Bob Dylan. It's a good complement to the Snakes' killer Ode To Joy, underpinned by Christopher Sands's Rainy Day Womanish honky-tonky piano and the meandering vocals that Ethier tosses off with cool panache. While the disc's super-casual production is nicely suited to the ragged tunes, it often feels more like extremely promising demos than a polished package. Still, the odd, anachronistic character portraits Ethier paints, sometimes with only a few oblique lines, help you overlook the flaws. A good first effort.